Migraine Headaches vs. Chronic Headaches: What is the Difference?

Chronic and migraine headaches can take you out of the game. In my world, it is unnecessary struggle. I will tell you why. Headaches can be abolished and then kept at bay. We’ll discuss how in just a bit.

First, here is a true story. Linda came to our office with debilitating headaches. She was diagnosed with migraine headaches, and felt as if she was in constant pain. Depressingly, she had to stop doing the things she loved. We performed her qEEG brain map and low and behold she had the brain pattern that would put her at risk for chronic headaches. Today, Linda has zero headaches and is riding horses like she always loved to do.

I will tell you how she conquered her migraine headaches but first let’s explore the difference between chronic headaches and migraine headaches.

What is the Difference Between Headaches vs. Migraine Headaches?

The difference between headaches and migraines headaches can sometimes be clear. Sometimes, it is less clear for someone who is suffering from them. This is especially true if a person suffers from chronic ADHD related headaches. Chronic headaches are classified as such by occurrence more than 15 days a month. The same holds true for migraines that tend to be chronic by definition.

Differences Between Headaches and Migraine Headaches:

Chronic Daily Headaches:

  • Often affect both sides of your head
  • Pain that feels like pressing or tightening, but not pulsating pain
  • Cause mild to moderate pain
  • Might have features of chronic migraine or chronic tension-type headache

Migraine Headaches:

  • Affect one side or both sides of your head
  • Have a pulsating, throbbing sensation
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Cause nausea, vomiting or both
  • S ensitivity to light and/or sound

Now that you know the difference, let’s talk about what causes headaches. Most people do not know the cause.

What Causes Chronic and Migraine Headaches?

The number one things that is linked to headaches is, you guessed it, stress. Brain performance in the mode of anxiety is the foremost pattern behind headaches. Unfortunately, it also causes muscle tension which in turn perpetuates headaches. Too much use of extra fast brain speed makes it so that the brain is in constant overdrive. Overdrive is like throttling too hard in your care. It creates wear and tear on the engine.

Are Concussions Related to Chronic and Migraine Headaches?

Interestingly, concussions have been related to chronic and migraine headaches too. Many people do not know that they have suffered from a low grade concussion in the past. Unbelievably, when we see a person who complains of headaches in the office, their brain map indicates low power from a long ago mild bump to the head. I have even seen it on my own brain map. A few Halloweens ago, I hit my head on the tail gate of my Suburban. I had a headache for a few days. Although it didn’t feel like a  major deal at the time, I was hurt.  My brain out a few days later showed the concussion pattern was there. Guess what I did to feel better fast.

Is ADHD Associated with Chronic Headaches?

This one you might not believe, but it is true. ADHD and headaches have been linked to exist together. The excessive slow brain speed brain pattern of ADHD makes it so that the brain kicks it into overdrive to compensate. Headaches result. To find out more, read my blog post on ADHD related headaches.

How to Conquer Chronic and Migraine Headaches.

You know it. After a few sessions of Neurofeedback training, it was gone and I was back in business. If you want more information, check out my blog post on how to get rid of headaches.

Here is the number 1 tip for getting rid of headaches. It is not rocket science and it will work.

#1 Tip for Getting Rid of Chronic and Migraine Headaches

Rest and Relax. Boom, I said it, take it a break. Ok, let me tell you a little bit of the science behind it so you can follow my logic. Headaches come from too much extra fast brain speed High Beta. The key to getting rid of them is reducing High Beta. This happens when you relax. You can’t just relax one for 5 minutes though. You must spend time every day relaxing. My trick is to have you think of your favorite relaxing activity. My hubbie, Dr. Cosmas Leigh, loves to golf. He plays golf a few times each week. He gardens, plays video games, and works out. I run, read, and meditate. Here is the key… every day. We do these activities every single day. Figure out what you love to do and DO IT.

Need Help Getting Rid of Chronic and Migraine Headaches?

Looking for help to get rid of headaches, then it might be time to explore Neurofeedback training. It is proven effective to help break the headache cycle. It is so effective that 54%  of people in a recent study got rids of their headaches altogether. Neurofeedback teaches your brain to make less of extra fast brain speed and more of perfect processing for calm-focus. When your brain works better, so do you.

Once you have reduced the brain patterns that are at the root of your headaches, you can live a lifestyle that facilitates less High Beta production. This includes being aware of how much you are using your brain and bringing balance to the 3 modes of brain performance for success and using your brain to thrive not just survive.

For Neurofeedback Experts

Anxiety & Headaches

A case study by Donaldson et al. in 2012 showed that headaches are related to anxiety, head injuries, and muscle tension. Anxiety was indicated by excessive global use of High Beta extra fast brain speed. Muscle tension was measure using Surface EMG but was also related to the excessive High Beta use. Head injury was measured by 1 to 2 standard deviations lower magnitude of power overall. A low power brain pattern makes it so that the brain has to struggle to perform, thus causing headaches as it exerts energy.

Seizure Activity & Headaches

Research shows that Migraine headaches are related to the factors above and underlying low-grade seizure activity. Seizure activity is an outward sign of an unstable brain pattern. What this looks like on a qEEG Brain Map is pockets of High Delta and Theta slow brain speed coupled with excessive High Beta extra fast brain speed. Interestingly, the research shows that the brain is speed is super fast. Frequencies in excess have been identified between 55-90 Hz and 90-200 Hz. Wow, that is fast. It is hyperexcitabilty of the brain when it should be at rest.

Does Neurofeedback Work to Reduce Headache Symptoms?

A recent study by showed that all but one patient had a major reduction in headache symptoms using Neurofeedback and 54% had total headaches gone away.

Remember, EEG is not used to diagnose migraines, but it can be very informative on how to get rid of them. Once you see what the brain needs to perform closer to optimal, then you can do it. When you perform a qEEG Brain Map you are looking for High Beta and which areas are most impacted. Start there. Reducing High Beta will relieve headache symptoms quickly. If the ADHD pattern is evident with excessive Theta magnitude you could train that down as well. Blue across the board on the qEEG Brain is evident when low power is present. Increasing SMR will help to boost overall power and help symptoms reduce. Have fun changing brain to improve lives. I know I do.


Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email



3 Steps to Conquer Anxiety, ADHD, and Addictions

Find out how, now!

Online Workshops

Become an expert via the 8 Keys of our online course.


Live Workshops

 Increase focus & productivity – decrease stress.

Online Coaching

Learn how your brain works – and how to make it work better!